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This excerpt from the 1922 Standard Atlas of Johnson County, Kansas, shows both of Richard Hocker’s residential developments.

An Ideal Home in an Ideal Location...

By the turn of the 20th century, industrialization in Kansas City resulted in overcrowding, pollution, and disease. Looking to escape these less-than-desirable conditions, Kansas City’s upper-middle classes sought homes in new suburban developments in northeast Johnson County. The advent of the electric trolley led to “streetcar suburbs,” which made transit into downtown accessible and convenient. Read more about Richard Hocker's suburban developments at JoCoHistory

By the turn of the 20th century, industrialization in Kansas City resulted in overcrowding, pollution, and disease. Looking to escape these less-than-desirable conditions, Kansas City’s upper-middle classes sought homes in new suburban developments in northeast Johnson County. The advent of the electric trolley led to “streetcar suburbs,” which made transit into downtown accessible and convenient. Read more about Richard Hocker's suburban developments at JoCoHistory

  • The glass-heavy design makes the new Library look vibrant and will show all the activities going on inside
    The glass-heavy design makes the new Library look vibrant and will show all the activities going on inside, encouraging more people to use it. The glass-heavy design makes the new Library look vibrant and will show all the activities going on inside
  • The interior design takes advantage of the flood of natural light, creating an inviting and comfortable space for visitors.
    The interior design takes advantage of the flood of natural light, creating an inviting and comfortable space for visitors.  The interior design takes advantage of the flood of natural light, creating an inviting and comfortable space for visitors.
  • The two-story Monticello Library features floor-to-ceiling glass along three of its four sides.
    The two-story Monticello Library features floor-to-ceiling glass along three of its four sides. The two-story Monticello Library features floor-to-ceiling glass along three of its four sides.
  • Visitors to the new Monticello Library will see a 30,467 square foot building with lots of glass walls and timeless finishes.
    Visitors to the new Monticello Library will see a 30,467 square foot building with lots of glass walls and timeless finishes. Visitors to the new Monticello Library will see a 30,467 square foot building with lots of glass walls and timeless finishes.
The interior design takes advantage of the flood of natural light, creating an inviting and comfortable space for visitors.

Natural Lighting is Key to Design

The last time Johnson County built a new library was in 1994, 24 years ago. And a lot has changed since then. Don’t expect to find your father’s library at our newest location.

This summer, visitors to the new Monticello Library will see a 30,467 square foot building with lots of glass walls and timeless finishes. The two-story library features floor-to-ceiling glass along three of its four sides, a modern look designed to not only let in lots of natural light, but also to attract attention from those driving by on Shawnee Mission Parkway.

Matt Glawatz, an architect with The Clark Enersen Partners – the firm who designed the new library, said the glass-heavy design makes the building look vibrant and will show all the activities going on inside, encouraging more people to use it.

“Libraries are very much about information and making sure information is relevant and current and thinking about what’s next, looking to the future,” Glawatz said. “I think the way the building expresses itself aligns with that notion of looking to the future.”

The interior design takes advantage of the flood of natural light, creating an inviting and comfortable space for visitors. Together with advanced technology, the open floor plan incorporates flexible spaces, raised floors and other design strategies so it can adapt to future uses and public needs in the coming decades.

And while the glass walls enable patrons to connect visually to the exterior landscape, a patio area on the second-floor offers an invitation to step out and enjoy the outdoors– with a book, or while enjoying the Library’s free wireless access.

The last time Johnson County built a new library was in 1994, 24 years ago. And a lot has changed since then. Don’t expect to find your father’s library at our newest location.

This summer, visitors to the new Monticello Library will see a 30,467 square foot building with lots of glass walls and timeless finishes. The two-story library features floor-to-ceiling glass along three of its four sides, a modern look designed to not only let in lots of natural light, but also to attract attention from those driving by on Shawnee Mission Parkway.

Matt Glawatz, an architect with The Clark Enersen Partners – the firm who designed the new library, said the glass-heavy... Continue »

Barb Nichols is a Johnson County Library Foundation supporter.

Why I Give: A Story by Barbara Nichols

I am a self-proclaimed word nerd and book geek. Nothing makes me happier than being in the middle of a good book and knowing there is another one waiting for me. The credit for this must go to my mother, a voracious reader and library patron. She had a love of reading and a limited budget; the library provided the perfect solution.

Every Tuesday night was library night for my mom, my sister and me. It was such a thrill to go to the Children’s Section by myself and pick out the books I wanted. As time passed, I fell in love with mysteries, classic fiction, plays and cookbooks. And where could I find all of these for free? At the library!

To pass on the love of reading, I started taking our sons to the Corinth Library from a very young age. Miss Uppie and  Miss Leslie were the librarians and always had a smile and if needed, recommendations. We attended many programs such as “Reading with your Pet,” “Origami” and “Pokeman Parties.”  Our boys, now 27 and 24, still use and love the library. Our oldest uses the Johnson County Library online resources frequently and our youngest, who now lives in New York, had to call a week after he moved to tell me that he had been to the New York Public Library to get his card.

To quote Lady Bird Johnson, “Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.”

Libraries represent a great equalizer in our society. All are welcome and encouraged to become patrons. They provide books, magazines, genealogy information, meeting rooms, Maker Spaces, Internet access, author talks and a variety of programs. My book club reserves a meeting room once a year to plan out what we want to read.  We can stroll through the stacks and chose titles and topics of interest to share with the group. 

People say that no one reads “actual” books anymore, yet the Johnson County Library system checks out more than 7,000,000 items a year. Many of those items are eBooks, and I do appreciate the convenience of reading on my iPad, but nothing beats having a real book in your hands. As our world changes, so does the library. It continues to evolve, grow and provide wonderful resources for our community.

Why do I give to the Johnson County Library Foundation? I believe that in any great society we need access to free materials across all economic barriers, and the Library provides that service in our community. It is important to me to be involved and support the important work and programs throughout this system.

- Barbara  Nichols is a Johnson County Library Foundation supporter.

I am a self-proclaimed word nerd and book geek. Nothing makes me happier than being in the middle of a good book and knowing there is another one waiting for me. The credit for this must go to my mother, a voracious reader and library patron. She had a love of reading and a limited budget; the library provided the perfect solution.

Every Tuesday night was library night for my mom, my sister and me. It was such a thrill to go to the Children’s Section by myself and pick out the books I wanted. As time passed, I fell in love with mysteries, classic fiction, plays and cookbooks. And where could I find all of these for free? At the library!

To pass on the love of reading, I started taking our sons to the Corinth Library from a... Continue »

Dividing Lines: A History of Segregation in Kansas City

A History of Segregation in Kansas City

Dividing Lines: A History of Segregation in Kansas City

Download the new Dividing Lines app on Android or iOS and journey through the history of segregation in the Kansas City metro, primarily through its real estate. The tour is designed so that you can safely drive through the city at your own pace while hearing stories about each area you travel through.

Nathaniel Bozarth, ethnographer and host of the “Wide Ruled” podcast, narrates this 90-minute drive, bringing in interviews from several area students and notable city figures Sid Willens, Bill Tammeus, Mamie Hughes, and Margaret May.

“Dividing Lines” was created as a part of the Johnson County Library’s “Race Project KC.” The Library’s Civic Engagement Committee and Tanner Colby’s book “Some of My Best Friends are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America” inspired much of the ongoing work of Race Project KC. This tour was made possible by support from Johnson County Library and the Kansas Humanities Council. It was produced by Brainroot Light & Sound. Written by Nathaniel Bozarth and Christopher Cook. The tour features music from Hermon Mehari and KC Jazz LP.

The content of this tour may contain controversial material; such statements are not an expression of library policy.

Get more information and download the app now.

Dividing Lines: A History of Segregation in Kansas City

Download the new Dividing Lines app on Android or iOS and journey through the history of segregation in the Kansas City metro, primarily through its real estate. The tour is designed so that you can safely drive through the city at your own pace while hearing stories about each area you travel through.

Nathaniel Bozarth, ethnographer and host of the “Wide Ruled” podcast, narrates this 90-minute drive, bringing in interviews from several area students and notable city figures Sid Willens, Bill Tammeus, Mamie Hughes, and Margaret... Continue »

In honor of Children's Day on Monday, April 30Jane Christison

Don't let the 'children's music' label fool you. Coming to us from Lenexa, Kansas, Jane Christison is a serious musician, performer and songwriter -- seriously fun, silly and experienced. While at UMKC working on a Bachelor of Music degree in Accordion Performance, Christison had the opportunity to travel internationally as part of the USO. For this edition of Listen Local Christison shares stories from her extensive touring experience, how she tailors the music she writes for both children and senior audiences, and her advice for aspiring professional musicians. 

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Tell us about yourself. How did you get interested in music and performing?

When I was nine years old, my Mom received a phone call asking, “Would you like to give your child a free musical test?”  She said “Sure, come on over.”  Since I was the oldest kid in the family, I got to take the test.

I don’t remember much about it other than the man told my parents that I got a good score.  He then signed me up for six weeks of accordion lessons and rented us a little accordion. 

At the end of the six weeks of lessons, I was given another test.  My parents were told, “Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Christison, your daughter is so talented!”  I’m guessing they told all the parents that because that’s when they sold us an accordion, and I’ve been playing the accordion ever since.

I loved playing the accordion right from the first lesson, but I wasn’t all that excited about performing.  When people would come over to our house, my Dad would always say, “Janie, get out your accordion and play something.”  I’d trudge down the hall to get my accordion and a music stand and a chair, then head back toward the living room thinking, “Don’t make me do this.”

I was really shy, and I would get so nervous.  And recitals, oh my gosh, I’d get nosebleeds from nerves.  Yet, despite all that, I ended up moving to Kansas City to study accordion with Joan Sommers at the University of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory of Music.

While at UMKC, I had no choice; I had to do performances.  And the more performing I did, the easier it became.  Now, performing and sharing my music with others is something I really enjoy doing.

Continue »
elementia cover xv

Celebrate Creative Teens

Join us at the reception celebrating the release of elementia issue xv!

Friday, April 26
6 - 8 pm
Central Resource Library

Please help us celebrate published authors and artists at a special after-hours reception and reading with food, drinks, music and a keynote speech from National Book Award Winner Jacqueline Woodson. Books by Woodson will be available after the reception for purchase and signing. Find more details and RSVP online

Copies of issue xvi will be available for free in all Johnson County Library locations and on our website starting Saturday, April 27.

elementia is a literary arts magazine published to represent and uplift young adults. We accept original poetry, fiction, nonfiction, graphic stories, photography and illustrations. Join us at the reception celebrating the release of issue xv! Continue »

April Fiction Roundup

April's Hottest Fiction Pics from Readers Advisory Librarian Gregg

Hello and welcome to our new releases roundup for Fiction for the month of April, 2018! If this is your first time here, my name is Gregg and I’m a Readers’ Advisory librarian here at the Johnson County Library. I’ll take a brief look at some of the well-reviewed titles that are published this month that we’ve either read or have heard great things about. You’ll not find John Grisham, Michael Connelly, or Janet Evanovich on these lists. It’s not that we don’t like them – we do! – but those are authors who most folks have already heard of. We love spotlighting books and authors that you might not be familiar with, or are brand new and deserve a bit of attention. Feel free to tell us about the under-the-radar titles that you’re excited about.

Mixing together historical fiction and psychological thriller – two literary tastes that go well together - is Christine Mangan’s TANGERINE. Set mostly on 1950s Morocco, this twisty novel about jealousy and identity involves two friends from different social classes who knew each other from boarding school who meet again in Tangiers, Africa. Alice is in an unhappy marriage, new to the area, and terrified to leave her home, while the more carefree and mysterious Lucy suddenly appears and helps her discover the markets, cafes, and beautiful streets outside her home. But the friends share a dark secret from their past, and when Alice’s husband, John, suddenly disappears, Alice and Lucy’s dysfunctional relationship threatens to consume them all. Lushly written and with a strong sense of place – the description of Tangier’s twisty, languid streets and bustling markets will make you run to travel websites to look up the cost of flights to Morocco - this will please fans of Suzanne Rindell’s THE OTHER TYPIST and Erin Kelly’s THE POISON TREE.

Keeping with the historical fiction theme but going back a few years – well, okay, more like a few thousand years – is Madeline Miller’s glittering, brilliant CIRCE, destined to be a 2018 book club favorite. Based on the character in Homer’s Odyssey who’s mostly known for turning men into pigs, Miller transforms the story into a thoughtful exploration of feminism, isolationism, and above all, the ability to change. Born the daughter of the immortal race of Titans, Circe is very much a disappointment, not as beautiful as her mother or as powerful as her father, Helios, a sun god. Trying to find a place in this world on her own terms, she is exiled to an isolated island for the crime of discovering and learning a form of forbidden magic. When a Greek general from the Trojan War washes up on her shore, she must choose between the unchanging gods or the chaotic, squabbling mortals she has a fondness for. Personally, this one’s going right to the top of my best of the year list, and I don’t see it moving off that particular spot anytime soon. If you haven’t already, be sure to pick up Miller’s SONG OF ACHILLES, about the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus that altered the course of the Trojan War, which is equally as good as this one.

As a proud member of Generation X, I fondly remember going to the library as a young reader to browse the “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels, which were adventure or mystery stories that required you to make choices that altered the plot as you went forward. (We still have some in our collection if you’re curious!) Sadly, you don’t see many of those for adults. But Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris’ MY LADY’S CHOOSING mixes the ability to choose your own twists and turns of the story with a rollicking Regency-style historical romance. As the novel begins, you’re new to the courtship season, and you have an array of suitors in front of you. Do you choose a rugged Scottish Highlander? The dashing but scandalous rogue? Or the handsome but reluctant Lord? The authors fill the pages with a wonderful mix of wit, romance, and baudy humor, while keeping true to the classic romances that fans around the world love. This one’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser, and we won’t mind if you mark your page with a finger, skip ahead, and see what happens if you took another path - we’ve all done it!

The best novels about Big Important Topics will often take heavy, abstract concepts and boil them down to the personal level. Authors who write characters we relate to and can get behind provide a lens through which we can see those Big Important Topics and make them relatable and understandable. Jonathan Evison’s LAWN BOY introduces us to Mike Munoz, a young man who just got fired from an entry-level gig on a landscaping crew in an affluent Washington state suburb. Mike doesn’t have a lot of things going for him. He’s poor, lives on a reservation, his mom works double shifts to help keep the family afloat, and his brother has special needs. The deck is stacked against him, but the does have enthusiasm, a quick wit, and determination, and he tries and tries - and fails - to chip away at a small piece of the American Dream. One day, however, he catches the break that he’s long sought. Mike Munoz is a memorable character and this coming-of-age story is full of warm humor and big heart, and readers will quickly grow to love him and his observations on class, race, and culture as he looks from the outside in – and finally breaks through.

Hello and welcome to our new releases roundup for Fiction for the month of April, 2018! If this is your first time here, my name is Gregg and I’m a Readers’ Advisory librarian here at the Johnson County Library. I’ll take a brief look at some of the well-reviewed titles that are published this month that we’ve either read or have heard great things about. You’ll not find John Grisham, Michael Connelly, or Janet Evanovich on these lists. It’s not that we don’t like them – we do! – but those are authors who most folks have already heard of. We love spotlighting books and authors that you might not be familiar with, or are brand new and deserve a bit of attention. Feel free to tell us about the under-the-radar titles that you’re excited... Continue »

Monticello Opens

Monticello Opening

Monticello Library to Open Sunday, August 5, 2018!

Long-awaited branch inaugurates services in Western Shawnee!

The new Monticello Library will open its doors to the public on Sunday, August 5, 2018, 1:00 – 5:00 pm, the Johnson County Library Board of Directors announced at their April board meeting. The August 5 event will be low-key, according to Library Board chair Nancy Hupp. “We know how eager our residents are to get into this beautiful facility,” she says, “so we are inaugurating services quickly, and people can start using their new Library right away.” The doors will open promptly at 1 pm. Activities will include tours of the new building conducted by Library staff and opportunity to meet artists who’ve created new works of public art to be installed at the site. The afternoon event takes place during what will be regular Sunday service hours, making Monticello the fifth library in the County open on Sundays.

Monticello Library to Open Sunday, August 5, 2018!

Long-awaited branch inaugurates services in Western Shawnee!

The new Monticello Library will open its doors to the public on Sunday, August 5, 2018, 1:00 – 5:00 pm, the Johnson County Library Board of Directors announced at their April board meeting. The August 5 event will be low-key, according to Library Board chair Nancy Hupp. “We know how eager our residents are to get into this beautiful facility,” she says, “so we are inaugurating services quickly, and people can start using their new Library right away.” The doors will open promptly at 1 pm. Activities will include tours of the new building conducted by Library staff and opportunity to meet artists who’ve created... Continue »

The recently returned 6-record set was checked out in March and renewed in April of 1976

Audiobook 42 years overdue returned to Library

A recent return of an overdue item occasioned quite the stir. Our local CBS news affiliate picked up the story from a social media post. The feature also got some love from national CBS and Inside Edition social media. Go figure. See the local story here.

An audiobook 42 years overdue was returned to the Johnson County Library. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain 6-record set dates back before the time of CDs and even audio cassettes. The vinyl records are meant to be played at 16-2/3 RPM, a format so unusual that not even the local Marr Sound Archive at UMKC has such a turntable.

The volume was returned Friday, March 30 at the Corinth Library, and quickly caught staff attention. "We can see the set was checked out in March and renewed in April of 1976," librarian Megan Bannen said.

Examination of the set shows it to be a recording produced for the American Publishing House for the Blind, under the auspices of the Library of Congress. The book was narrated by Burt Blackwell, who recorded more than 400 volumes for the APH. The backside of the record label includes braille titling.

Bannen posted a small tweet about the returned book, not expecting it to be such a popular subject. Within an hour, KCTV5 had contacted the library to report on the story. Their online post and broadcast story were picked up by the national CBS syndicate and the story was included online by Inside Edition!

The patron who returned the 42-years-overdue audiobook stopped by Corinth to introduce herself and give the backstory on the audiobook. She used to teach visually impaired students in Shawnee Mission in the late 60s and early 70s. When she moved away some 30 years ago, the item was packed away inadvertently. She returned to the Kansas City area recently, and her daughter saw the set and joked, “Uh, think you should finally return this to the library?” So, she did!

Many have been interested in the possible late fee for an audiobook that is 42 years overdue. "You know, I don’t know how much we were charging for overdue books in 1976,” Bannen said. “Currently, we charge $.30 a day, but we do cap at $6 an item. So the maximum fee for this item would be $6." Corinth Library manager Ken Werne reports that a West Coast donor, after seeing or hearing the story, this week mailed a check and paid the $6 fine for this item in full.

The item has been, at long last, officially weeded from the collection, and has been donated to the Friends of Johnson County Library. The Friends will sell the item, likely through their very successful online portal to raise funds to support Library programs and services.

 

 

A recent return of an overdue item occasioned quite the stir. Our local CBS news affiliate picked up the story from a social media post. The feature also got some love from national CBS and Inside Edition social media. Go figure. See the local story here.

An audiobook 42 years overdue was returned to the Johnson County Library. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain 6-record set dates back before the time of CDs and even audio cassettes. The vinyl records are meant to be played at 16-2/3 RPM, a format so unusual that not even the local Marr Sound Archive at UMKC has such a turntable.

... Continue »

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